Visualisations in action

by Yeevon Ooi on 14 June 2010

I am obsessed with visualisations. I try to be an advocate of how they are literally worth a thousand words (or more), and should be used wisely.

People refer to them as data graphics, data visualisations, information visualisations, info graphics and etc. There are differences between these visualisations but the underlying concept of them being useful and usable shouldn’t be different.

The info graphics or visualisations that we see on websites or magazines or other media outlets are sometimes visually appealing but not that useful. I remembered evaluating a tool which helps people visualise their social networks and there was feedback on how people would print out the visualisations and stick it on the wall because it looked pretty cool although it didn’t actually make any sense.

So is there a way to design these visualisations better so that they actually help people make sense of information?

I think there is, and I’ve summarised a few very basic guidelines for designing visualisations that are easier to understand or manipulate in some instances. It’ll be interesting to hear what you think about it :)

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